Disaster declaration prohibit sale, use of fireworks

No fireworks can be bought or sold in Hutchinson County this year.Hutchinson County Judge Faye Blanks issued a Declaration of Disaster that will prohibit the sale or use of fireworks. This disaster declaration was signed and approved by Texas Governor Perry Friday, and will be in effect until 7 a.m. July 5, 2011.Since the beginning of the year, the Hutchinson County has seen less than ¾ inch of rainfall, and local fire departments have put out over 130 fires as of this point in 2011.Danny Richards, Hutchinson County Fire Marshal, said some of the fires have been small and some large, but they all are important in the whole scheme of things. This rainy season has been nonexistent, he said, and a long term forecast from the National Weather Service for the county shows no signs of possible rainfall in the area. Those caught violating the declaration face the possibility of a $1,000 fine and 180 days in jail. Hutchinson County will be upping patrols to push the fireworks ban. I hope people can find an alternative way to celebrate the fourth of july,” Richards said. “We've never done this before. This is all new to us.” Even after the declaration expires, the county will still remain under a burn ban. Officials will promote education and fire safety, and are asking for the cooperation of the community in abiding by this declaration. “We've never had a complete ban on fireworks, but this is the year.” Richards said. There will be a county commissioners meeting in the Hutchinson County Courthouse at 9:30 a.m. Monday. At that time, the commissioners and judge will have further discussion on the disaster declaration. However, Richards said the ban is a done deal.